Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, December 29, 2017


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First 2018 Los Angeles Open Seat Identified As That of Superior Court Judge Roy Paul


By a MetNews Staff Writer



Superior Court Judge

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Roy Paul has told the MetNews that he will be retiring on Feb. 16—and given that he is up for election next year to Office No. 4, this marks the first confirmation of an open seat on the June 5 primary ballot.

Other potential open seats are rumored, including that held by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William G. Willett, who is known to be in ill health.

Paul said yesterday he is not endorsing any particular potential candidate to succeed him “as of this time,” adding, “but that is subject to change in the near future.”

The judge said he is presently using up vacation days, though he is still tending to some judicial chores.

“I’m in the process of cleaning out my chambers,” he related.

Plans Not Disclosed

While still on the bench, judges who are intending to align themselves with an alternative dispute resolution outfit are ethically precluded from specifying their plans, though those intending to reenter law practice are not so confined. Paul said only that he is “exploring options.”

He did relate that he will not become inactive in law,” noting: “I have a super-high energy level.”

The judge told of his “passion for the law” and reflected:

“I’ve never lost my enthusiasm from the day I got a commissionership.”

That happened when the five judges of the Downey Municipal Court hired him in 1991.

Elected to Judgeship

Three years later, he was elected by voters as a judge of that court, trouncing an opponent—Benjamin Robert Margolis (now deceased)—who, though holding a law license, worked as a pharmacist. Paul received 73 percent of the vote.

He became a judge of the Superior Court in 2000 through court unification, serving in various courthouses. In the end, he wound up in Long Beach.

There, he handled probate cases and family law cases. His specialty was “cross-over” cases involving both areas of law.

He gave as examples situations where a spouse dies and there are persisting child support issues, or where a spouse gives away property, dies, and the surviving spouse wants to reclaim the gifts from the donee as community property.

Judicial Service

As a judge, he said, he has tried to follow the advice he received early in his judicial career from a seasoned jurist, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Frisco, now deceased, who took him to the side and counseled that he was there to serve members of the public, not to be served by them.

Among various honors he has received, affirming success in following Frisco’s advice, is the Alfred J. McCourtney Trial Judge of the Year award, bestowed by the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles in 2015.

One major case he handled was the action to dissolve the marriage of billionaire investor Ronald W. Burkle. He redacted from the record certain sensitive financial information but did not seal all that Burkle wanted hidden from view.

A statute was passed, effective in June 2004, authorizing the sealing of an entire file in a family law case that contained financial information. On Feb. 28, 2005, Paul held the statute unconstitutional, declaring:

“The court concludes the statute is overbroad because it mandates sealing entire pleadings to protect a limited class of specified material.”

He was affirmed by the Court of Appeal for this district and the California Supreme Court denied review. 

Judge’s Mother

Paul noted that his late mother, Lynn Paul, was an attorney. She was admitted to the State Bar in June, 1958.

It was she, the judge recounted, who caused the incorporation of Bell Gardens in 1961, becoming its first mayor. She died in 1978.

Following in her footsteps, he became mayor of Bell Gardens in 1982. Moving to Downey in 1984, he became a city councilman there in 1986, serving in that capacity when he became a court commissioner, with a stint as mayor in 1990.


Copyright 2017, Metropolitan News Company